Hebburn Town swoop for ex-Sunderland academy ace
The former Sunderland academy striker became Bolam’s second signing of the summer on Friday afternoon and goes some way to fill the void left by Graeme Armstrong’s retirement.
The 24-year-old frontman brings significant experience with him after playing for the likes of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Greenock Morton and South Shields and spent time playing abroad for Swiss side Servette and Australian club Preston Lions.
Bell faced Hebburn last summer during a trial with National League North club Blyth Spartans – but went on to join Dunston UTS last October.
He will now hope to spearhead Hebburn’s attempts to make an impact in their first season in the Northern Premier League East Division and his new manager is delighted to have completed a notable signing.
He told The Gazette: “I got to see Connor last season when he was on trial at Blyth Spartans last season, and we played them in a friendly.
“He’s got a really good attitude, he’s hardworking, he knows where the goal is, and he knows the level.
“I like what I have seen on the pitch, I’ve done my research, I have spoken to other managers and people in the game I trust and all I have heard is good things.
“We are delighted to get our hands on him, and we really can’t wait to get to work with him.”
Bolam insisted that he did not see Bell as a “direct replacement” for Armstrong, who announced his retirement in the wake of the FA Vase quarter-final defeat at eventual winners Warrington Rylands.
The Hornets boss was keen to play down comparisons between the two players – but did back his side to get the best out of his new addition when the new season gets underway in August.
“Connor is not a direct replacement for Graeme, he’s a different type of striker,” explained Bolam.
“Graeme was a bit of a freak, a legend of the game at our level and at levels above us.
“It’s unfair to Connor to compare him to Graeme and we certainly won’t be doing that.”